Evolution of the Console Controller – SNES Controller (1990)

The Super Nintendo controller improved upon its precursor, the Famicom (or NES) Controller, by adding two additional buttons on its right face, two shoulder buttons on the top of the controller, as well as a more rounded overall design. These extra features enabled arcade games that used 6 buttons, such as Street Fighter II, to be played with ease at home. Contrast this with the Sega Genesis’ awkward 3 button controls in the same game. The SNES controller also enabled the player to comfortably press four buttons at the same time, allowing for more complex game interaction.

Four buttons on the right along with shoulder buttons can be seen in variations on the standard Dreamcast, Xbox 360, PlayStation, N64, and other controllers. The basic layout of the SNES controller has remained a de facto standard for the games industry well beyond the 16-bit era. Even as controllers have added analog inputs for 3D gaming, this fundamental layout remains for traditional controllers.

Up to D-Pad Era – Back to Donkey Kong II – Forward to Sega Genesis

On loan from Ben Wilhelm